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Population drops in reopened Japanese town

Thursday, March 03, 2016 - 01:13

Japan nuclear refugees choose not to return home after being forced to leave during nuclear meltdown at Fukushima nuclear station. Julie Noce reports.

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Tokuo Hayakawa, a 76-year-old Buddhist priest, flips through old photos. In one, he's wearing protective clothing. He lives in Naraha, a town just 20 kilometers from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear station that suffered a triple meltdown during the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. He's one of just 440 people who've returned since the evacuation order was lifted and says his return marks the beginning of the end. It became a place where people couldn't live safely, he said. I knew when I returned, I'd see the end of this city. Black garbage bags filled with radioactive dirt and debris line the horizon, a constant reminder of the ongoing cleanup. There are more people here hired to help with the decontamination, than there are residents. Just six percent of the town's population have come back. A local politician says what many see as obvious....The foundation of the town is the residents. Around 10 percent of the evacuees still live in temporary housing across the prefecture, but many others have settled outside their hometowns and have begun new lives.

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Population drops in reopened Japanese town

Thursday, March 03, 2016 - 01:13